Priority of Time
by Margaret D. Mitchell
Week of April 6, 2014
"When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, 'Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.'" -Exodus 32:1
In the Wait...
Have you ever taken matters into your own hands when you don’t understand? Have you ever jumped ahead of God when you don’t see any provision from Him? Have you leaned upon your own understanding to do what you think you should do when you should simply wait?
Most of us, if not all, could answer “yes” to at least one or all of these questions.
When we don’t wait upon The Lord, we grab hold of the enemy’s counterfeit, his defilement: idols, immorality that will lead us to disappointment and shame—a dead end.
What fills your wait? Perfect peace or the anxiety of self-reliance?
While waiting for Moses, the Israelites thought they had to do something. When all they had to do was wait on The Lord and worship Him while they waited. They not only got out of God’s timing, they got out of God’s priority. They should have waited for Moses, no matter how long it took him to return God’s message to them. They should have simply trusted and believed. They should have kept the faith that God would faithfully show up. Because they didn’t wait, in Exodus 32:10, God was about to destroy the Israelites for their idolatry.
Fear and stubbornness are the fuel of idolatry. God Himself said to Moses in Exodus 32:9, “I have seen these people…and they are a stiff-necked people.”
The enemy comes to cause us to question God’s word in our hearts, just like he did in the Garden of Eden. He comes to quench out God’s word with his lies so God’s will and our destinies will not come to pass. Our hearts have spiritual “eyes,” and when we don’t understand what God is doing, doubt can come to try to provoke us to opt for the enemy’s counterfeit, which usually involves leaning on our own understanding. In this case, the Israelites leaned on what they learned in Egypt—idolatry.
Luke 12:34 tells us "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." In this situation, the Israelites proved their hearts were stronger in idol worship over God’s faithfulness. They had listened to too many lies! We see in Exodus 32:3-6 that the enemy wastes no time in filling their “down” time. And he used Moses’ own brother, Aaron, to lead the blasphemy.
Clearly, Aaron was fueled by anxiety. His actions mimic that of Jezebel, whose actions were also rooted in ungodly fear (Ex. 32:2, 4-5). Immoral spirits offer us counterfeit solutions to pervert the work God desires to do in us, through us and for us (on our behalf). Aaron was confused, acting out of a mixture of God’s truth and the enemy’s untruth: “When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, ‘Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord’” (Ex. 32:5). This otherwise godly man weakened and compromised and got out of God’s provision and timing. This act of mixture (confusion) was regarded as “corrupt” by God (Ex. 32:7).
If you sincerely desire to wait upon The Lord, ask yourself…
·In my desperation, am I confused?
If you answered “yes” to this question, then ask yourself…
·Is there any doubt in my heart?
·Have I acted out in compromise in any way?
·Am I worshiping God as I wait?
If you answered “yes” to either of the first two questions, then confess your compromise and repent (turn from your sin). Invite Holy Spirit to help you wait on God’s provision. Affirm your faith by the washing of The Word—get in the Bible, listen to Bible-based teachings. And worship God while you wait, which strengthens you because He inhabits the praises of His people. This is yoking up with power! This is perfect co-labor! Even in the wait! You are trusting God!
How we spend our time is determined by what we value most—the treasures within our hearts. So what we do with our time (including down time) becomes a fruit of our priorities. When we put priority of anything/anyone above God, then we will sink like Peter on the water because the ungodly fear in our hearts weighs us down, blocking the flow of God’s grace to lift us up. Like a dead weight, we are left with our fruit of self-reliance by default. It can happen subtly over time or as overtly and quickly as was proved out by Peter in Matthew 14:29-30 and by the Israelites in Exodus 32.
When we get out of God’s timing, perversion can come and cause confusion. Without carefully discerning spirits, we can be fooled into believing that our deeds are righteous in God’s eyes. After all, every good and perfect thing is from God (Ja. 1:17). But it isn’t good and perfect if it isn’t in God’s timing, which includes His order and His will and His anointing. If God isn’t in the timing, it’s disobedience! Even the enemy can appear as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14). So don’t be fooled into stepping forward prematurely.
God desires our submitted hearts, even in the area of timing: our schedules, our deadlines, our priorities and plans. God is sovereign, and He tests us to refine us in this area. It is one way He purifies our hearts. He desires our obedience to lead us to victory and also to build His Kingdom on earth.
So when we run an endurance race, it is critical that we fully submit to God’s timing—no matter how long or awful or impossible it feels or looks. God has you on the right track. Do not fall for the enemy’s deception of having to have everything now. And do not let other people pressure you into making decisions before you hear from God on the matter, like Aaron (Ex. 32:1-2).
God knows what we can handle and when. He is coordinating all the elements you cannot see. He is for us. He loves us. And He is with us, even in the wait.
Margaret D. Mitchell is the Founder of God's Love at Work, a marketplace outreach purposed to share God's greatest power source - the love of Christ. This devotional was adapted from Margaret's latest book, "Enduring Grace," to be released soon.
Originally published Sunday, 06 April 2014.